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Book Review: Destined by Rubina Ramesh


TITLE: Destined
AUTHOR: Rubina Ramesh
GENRE: Fiction (Romance)



Esha Mehra could have taken care of her father, only if she had some support from her fiancé. But he had his priorities set and her sick father was nothing but a burden. Esha didn’t have any other choice but to apply for a loan from her office. But she had not banked on the fact that the Head of Geno Technologies needed her for other reasons.

When Rohan Sharma saw Esha for the first time, he felt she was the one. He had no intention of falling in love with her for the pain of the past was still too much to bear. But he did need Esha as a decoy to his plan. But Esha was not a damsel in distress who would bend to his will easily. While he was sure that he would marry her only for six months, he still couldn’t understand why he felt a searing jealousy every time, her ex-fiancé Ayush’s name was mentioned.

While these two souls had other plans in their lives, Destiny conspires to bring them together. But will the stench of Death let them live their lives?


Why did I pick this one up?

Hesitant at first not because I don’t have faith in the author’s writing skill but because I prefer thrillers and mythological fiction to romance, I picked this up for two reasons:

1) Curiosity. The blurb interested me. I wanted to know what fate had in store for Esha and her boss Rohan Sharma.

2) Faith in the Author’s writing. I knew she could pull off a romance well have read another romance from her desk titled Finding The Angel

So, how did I find the book?

Esha the female protagonist, comes across as a strong- willed, level head one who is not ready to buckle under pressure. She can be sweet and rude.Not ready to be cowed down either by her fiancé, his mother and boss Rohan Sharma, she knows her priorities and responsibilities. Faced with a serious situation she needs to take some hard decisions. But can she, without compromising her dignity? For that you need to read the book.

Packed with stings and barbs, selfish motives and selfless love, ‘Destined’ also has some sizzling romance scenes that are sure to go down well with lovers of romance fiction and the romantic at heart.

The characters are etched out well and you can’t but help relate to their mood and mood- swings. Even the secondary characters are strong enough to make an impact on the reader. They play a pivotal role in moving the story forward. You may hate some of them but then you can’t help agree that without them the story would lose its charm.

Language is Rubina’s forte. She knows how to play with words to bring live the scenes. ‘Destined’ too is blessed by this ability of hers. The imagery is vivid and lingers long after the story ends.

Pace is perfect. Smooth and free flowing, it is neither too fast nor too slow. So there is no scope for letting out a yawn in between the pages, nor feel that things have been rushed through. One can relax and enjoy the story.

Any suggestions from my side?

Ah! Yes. Would love those minor typographical errors at a few places here and there, corrected.


A must read, one that is destined to leave you smiling. I’m glad I picked it up. I’ll give it a 4 on a scale of 5.


Buy the book @


#TornadoGiveaway3 :- Book # 7-Royal Arcanum by Keefe R D.



TITLE- Royal Arcanum (The Royal Arcanum #1) AUTHOR - Keefe R.D

TITLE- Royal Arcanum
(The Royal Arcanum #1)
AUTHOR – Keefe R.D


Royals have a secret, as much as anyone else’s.

17-year-old Cathy Charlotte thought that her mom still keeping a secret about their family. Until one day, odd things are starting to happen—the white hair girl who has been haunted her dreams is coming to reality as their so-called distant relative—Sylvia Elle who acts all strange and mysterious. Meanwhile, everyone in the small town of Bisbee are welcoming a new detective—Chantel Herron who later becomes co-worker to Cathy’s dad.

A sudden circumstance has caused her mom to coma after unknown demons are failed to kidnap her. At that hard time, Sylvia Elle finally reveals herself as a guardian angel who is currently assigned to help her discovering the whole things that her mom has been keeping.

Further, she found out that Chantel is the evil witch with demons works under her command. They want to hunt Cathy for their welfare sake to empower the hidden world of Caecus by experimenting her royal blood. That magical realm is concealed behind an abandoned castle in Austria—where her mom’s family secrecy is also buried in there. Eventually, Cathy is the key to open the door and to save the world.

You can buy the book @ ||





Keefe R.D is the author of the Salt Prejudice and the Royal Arcanum Series. She graduated from Mercu Buana University and she lives with her family in Indonesia. She loves to spend her time with reading books that mostly about fantasy, supernatural, and spiritual.

Stalk her @

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#TornadoGiveaway3 :- Book # 5- The Mahabharata Code by Karthik K.B. Rao


TITLE The Mahabharata Code  Author Karthik K.B. Rao

The Mahabharata Code
Karthik K.B. Rao


Rubina Ramesh

Abhishek Singh

Daughter of Hades


“The Mahabharata Code is a personal account of the main protagonist Narayan Rao (NR), who claims to be an astronomer with NASA. NR and a few other crew members agree to take part in the NASA mission to visit this mystery planet from which they had received mysterious signals. Here, they meet a man with a long flowing white beard, and he introduces himself as Vyasa. He reveals that he has a crazy plan in mind and seeks NR and his members’ help in implementing this plan. He intends to recreate the entire Mahabharata on this planet to restore the faith of the primitive simpletons here. 

As the Mahabharata incidents start unfolding, NR realizes that Vyasa intends to recreate them page by page here, if not paragraph by paragraph. Also NR begins to realize that his son, Krishna, who is being groomed by Vyasa as Vishnu’s avatar, is nothing more than a pawn in Vyasa’s scheme of things. Other incidents of Mahabharata also unfold according to the original epic. Pandavas and Kauravas grow up hating each other and finally the restaging plan culminates with both the warring sets of cousins facing each other in the battlefield of Kurukshetra. 

Inexplicably, like the original epic, Arjuna develops cold feet seeing his own cousins, teachers and relatives on the opposite side. He seeks Krishna’s divine intervention. Is the brainwashed “alien” Krishna prepared for this intervention?”

You can buy the book @ ||

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About The Author


Karthik Rao is a 32-year-old software professional based in Bangalore. He lives with his wife Sushma, parents and two little sons Kaustubh Krishna and Raghav Krishna aged 4 and 1, respectively. He says, he gets to meditate close to 3 hours every day on his bike thanks to the notorious Bangalore traffic. His hobbies include following cricket, Indian politics on the social media and Indian mythology. He also plays plastic ball cricket with his sons.

Stalk him @
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Go to Book No. 6 >> Saving Grace (What Doesn’t Kill You #1) by Pamela Fagan Hutchins 

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TITLE: The Peshwa: The Lion and the Stallion
AUTHOR: Ram Sivasankaran
PUBLISHER: Westland Ltd.
GENRE: Fiction (Historical)



One of the best I’ve come across in recent times. It brings alive the Lion and his Stallion. It is not only rich in colours but mesmerizing too.



It is the 18th century and despite the dominant Mughal rule, the Maratha Confederacy has established itself as a force to be reckoned with in the Indian Subcontinent. The fragile peace between the two powers is threatened when Balaji Vishvanath Bhat, Peshwa of the Confederacy, foils the plans of Nizam Ul Mulk of the Mughal Empire, and asserts the power of the Marathas. However, little does the Peshwa know that he has dealt the Nizam an unintended wound—one with roots in his mysterious past and one that he would seek to avenge till his last breath.

When the Peshwa surrenders his life to a terminal illness dark clouds gather over the Confederacy as it is threatened by a Mughal invasion as well as an internal rebellion.

All the while a passive spectator, the Peshwa’s son, Bajirao Bhat, now needs to rise beyond the grief of his father’s passing, his scant military and administrative experience, and his intense love for his wife and newborn son to rescue everything he holds dear. Will the young man be able to protect the Confederacy from internal strife and crush the armies of the Empire all while battling inner demons?

Will he live up to his title of Peshwa?



PLOT/STORY-LINE: A historical fiction, the book deals not only with the coming of age of Peshwa Bajirao Bhat of the Maratha Confederacy but also gives an insight into the character and statesmanship of his father Peshwa Balaji Vishvanath Bhat. The story-line is engaging. It gives us an insight into a tumultuous period in Indian history in an interesting manner with all elements of human emotion served in appropriate measure. There is romance, there is hate. There is loyalty, there is deceit. There is empathy, there is brutality. But what touches the heart is the ease with which these emotions have been served.

As the events unfold, one feels one is actually a witness to the same. Such is the imagery that is woven into the story. The author has also not forgotten to share some profound knowledge vide his characters. One such knowledge is that of the importance of family and family ties. It’s not only relevant but one which the younger generation especially the workaholics need to be reminded of.

There are twists, there are turns and of course, the author has not forgotten to add an element of surprise too, one that I’m sure no one anticipated till the end.

CHARACTERIZATION: All the characters are well fleshed out thus making them interesting and easily relatable. One can easily relate to their actions and reactions.

LANGUAGE: Simple, crisp and lucid. The smooth flow of words makes the narrative not only easy but engrossing too. The author’s mastery over the language is evident from the terms he has used and the vivid description of events that unfold in the pages of the book.

PACE: Steady till the end. At no point does the author slacken the pace nor up it.

EDITING: Perfect.


Someone help!! I’m not able to pin-point anything that did not work for me.


RECOMMENDATION: What if I say, “I’d love to read this book over and over again?” I hope you’ve got the cue. Pick it up. You will enjoy it.

RATING: 5 on 5! Nothing less.


BUYING LINKS II II rediffBOOKS II crossword II flipkart




Born in Madras (now Chennai) India, Ram Sivasankaran spent most of his life abroad – largely in the Middle East and the United States of America.

Introduced to the world of stories that included Hindu legends and the great epics and classics of both India and the West, Ram developed a keen interest in stories of valor, heroism, chivalry, beauty and romance.

A day-dreamer of sorts, Ram believes deeply in the power of imagination – the mind being the canvas on which even the seemingly talentless can create new universes, resurrect eras long gone by, bring the gods to life and even resurrect heroes and damsels of yore.

‘The Peshwa’ is Ram’s debut novel.



It’s always a pleasure to know others views books and reviews. Do leave your views on the book and this review in the comment box below.

Consistency is the key to success



There is always a first time and this is one such first. Guess what? I’m hosting my very first guest author today on my blog. She is none other that the author par excellence and a great human being. She is ………….Ms Sundari Venkitaraman. To know more about this amazing personality  CLICK HERE



Now without wasting more time get ready to read what she has to say on ‘success.’

” Hi Geeta,

Thank you so much for hosting me on your blog. I am truly honoured that mine will be the first guest post on your blog.

I hope you and your blog readers will enjoy what I am going to talk about here – Consistency is the key to success – of course, from the point of view of an author.

When I began writing, it was like a bolt of lightning had hit me out of the blue. Within six months I had written three novels; the third being The Madras Affair. But getting my books published was a different ball game. I tried a number of publishers in India as well as abroad. But there were no takers.

I gave up, only for a while, to take up a job. But it looks like writing is my “swadharma” and I began blogging voraciously. This really gave me a lot of practice. I have around 700 articles on my blogs.

Soon, to motivate myself to write, I began to publish my novels as series on my blog. It was very encouraging when I had a group of people eagerly awaiting my forthcoming chapter every Friday. By now, I know I had a regular fan following.

And in 2014, egged on by Rubina Ramesh, I published my own books on Amazon. I must say that that was the best decision of my life. Three novels and one anthology of short stories are doing roaring business till today and are still on the bestseller charts of

This opened up yet another opportunity in 2015. Readomania came forward to publish The Madras Affair. It was a dream come true to see my book in print.

All these years of “never giving up” has finally borne fruit. Have I reached the end of my journey? Of course not!!!

Look out for my next in 2016!

Warm Regards,


Thanks Sundari, wishing you a great 2016 and many, many years of fruitful writing.

The Bestseller She Wrote- Book Review




TITLE: –The Bestseller She Wrote
AUTHOR:- Ravi Subramanian
PUBLISHER:- Westland Ltd.
GENRE- Fiction (Suspense)




Eye-catching and apt!





Paperback king, Aditya Kapoor’s life is straight out of a modern man’s fantasy. His literary stardom is perfectly balanced by a loving wife and a spectacular career. With everything he touches turning to gold, Aditya is on a winning streak.

Shreya Kaushik is a student with a heart full of ambition. Young, beautiful, and reckless, Shreya speaks her mind and obsessively chases after what she wants. And what she wants is to be a bestselling author.

What happens when their worlds collide? Is it possible to love two people at the same time? Can real ambition come in the way of blind passion? Can trust once broken, be regained?

Master storyteller Ravi Subramanian, delves into the glitzy world of bestsellers and uncovers a risky dalliance between a superstar novelist and his alluring protégé.

The Bestseller She Wrote is a combustible cocktail of love, betrayal and redemption.


STORYLINE:- Interesting and riveting! The book deals not only with ambition and success, but also has fair measures of romance, blind faith, deceit, adultery, back-stabbing, blackmailing, etc. etc. woven into it. It

Aditya, the protagonist, is a devoted husband and adorable father till he is enamoured by the young and vivacious Shreya who has a hidden agenda. One ready to go to any length to reach the top and achieve fame, Shreya befriends the protagonist who is also a bestseller. What follows is clever manipulation. Aditya finds himself in an unenviable position. His life takes a course downhill and is in shambles. His career and reputation are at stake and all that he holds dear starts slipping away from his hands like sand. In short he is on the brink of destruction. All his efforts to set things right are in vain thanks to some ill-advised moves and attempts at back-stabbing by quarters close to him.

The author not only takes on a virtual tour of the world of publishing but also introduces us to the shoddy side of the corporate world where there are neither permanent friends nor permanent foes. It also shows us how rejection can drive one crazy.

Packed with drama, deceit and emotions the story has some interesting twists and turns and also throws up some surprises. The climax was totally unexpected.

CHARACTERIZATION:- All the characters are well fleshed out. Their strengths, their weaknesses are brilliantly displayed. In fact one can easily relate to them, their emotions and actions. They bring live the story.

LANGUAGE: – Language is simple, crisp and lucid. No hard-hitting jargon to boggle the mind, nor pebbles in the form of typos/ grammatical errors to take away the taste.

STYLE:- Told in third person, the narrative was engrossing.

PACE:- Slow at first but gradually picked up. In fact in the latter half one found events seem to tumble forth one after the other so fast that one had to catch ones’ breath, go back a couple of times and re-read to be able to connect. But to be honest this did not in any way affect my view about the book simply because the twists and turns held my interest.




An interesting read I give the book 3.5 on a scale of 5. Why so? Well I’ve read the author’s ‘God is a Gamer’ by which he has set a standard for himself. This one fell short by a few notches of the standard.


To read my review of “God is a Gamer’  CLICK HERE



Couldn’t help quoting these few lines that I picked up at 

“Relationships-of all kinds-are like sand held in your hand. Held loosely, with an open hand, the sand remains where it is. The minute you close your hand and squeeze tightly to hold on, the sand trickles through your fingers. You may hold onto some of it, but most will be spilled. A relationship is like that. Held loosely, with respect and freedom for the other person, it is likely to remain intact. But hold too tightly, too possessively, and the relationship slips away and is lost.”






Described as the ‘John Grisham of banking’, by the Wall Street Journal, Ravi Subramanian, an alumnus of IIM Bangalore, is a bestselling author having authored bestsellers like If God was a Banker (2007), Devil in Pinstripes (2009), The Incredible Banker (2011), The Bankster (2012), Bankerupt (2013) and God is a Gamer—based on financial crime.

Having been a banker himself, he has a unique insight into the industry he writes about and a flair for spinning intricate plots that keep readers on the edge of their seats

His debut novel, If God was a Banker, won the 2008 Golden Quill Readers’ Choice Award and, more recently, The Incredible Banker won the 2011 Economist-Crossword Book Award in the ‘Popular’ category. He won the Crossword book award for The BANKSTER in 2012.

With ‘The Bestseller She Wrote,’ Ravi Subramanian makes his entry into an entirely different territory i.e love, betrayal and romance.


I am reviewing ‘The Bestseller She Wrote’ by Ravi Subramanian as a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers.

Participate now to get free books!

I’d like to have your views on the book and the review. Do leave them here in the comment box below.




TITLE: Chronicler of the Undead
AUTHOR: Mainak Dhar
PUBLISHER:Westland Ltd.
GENRE: Fiction





When there were still people around to talk to, I would introduce myself as a drinker with a writing problem. It sounded witty at the time, and certainly got a smile once in a while from the ladies. None of that matters now. There are no people left to read my books, and nobody left to listen to my attempts at wit.

Now it’s just me, sitting in my house on the hill, watching the undead rampage through what we humans once called our world. I sometimes wonder why I still live when those much younger, stronger, smarter and fitter than me perished. Maybe it’s just dumb luck. But maybe I am being left alive for a purpose. Nobody may have cared much for my novel, but maybe this is what I was meant to write. Maybe this is what I was meant to be.

The chronicler of the undead.

This is my story.




The Story: – Interesting and intriguing the story takes one on a journey of an entirely new world, one where people are going berserk biting/ killing people just like rabid dogs. The entire human race is in danger of these ‘Undead’ or the ‘Moreko’ as the Chronicler a disabled and embittered ex- soldier calls them.

The book written as journal entries is not only the ‘Chronicle of the Undead’ but also a ‘Chronicle of the Few Living’. It highlights their struggle for survival and camaraderie in trying times . While the Undead are rendered insane and are bereft of pain or feelings of any kind except the fear of fire, the living undergo untold sufferings in the form of evil Godmen, Moreko, Mahdi, shortage of food, water, clothing and shelter, etc. What bind them is the desire to survive at any cost, the never –say- die attitude of the Chronicler and the leadership of Negi a guy years younger to the Chronicler yet a born leader.

The story has its fair measure of twists and turns as well as romance. The climax was unexpected. I’m looking forward to a sequel of the chronicle, one that gives an account of the remaining humans i.e. the ‘Living’ post the apocalypse.

Characterization:- The character of the Chronicler is well developed. His strengths and weakness are drawn up perfectly thus making it easy for the reader to relate with him, his actions and thought process.

Language, Style and Pace:- Language is simple and crisp. Told in first person, the story hooks one from the word ‘go’. The different shades of human emotions are depicted well thereby making it easy for the reader to connect with the cast and the unenviable position they are in.

The pace is perfect. At no stage did I feel my interest wane.


Language:- Frequent usage of the word ‘shit’ had me wrinkling my nose. Felt it could be avoided. It was the only irritant in the entire book.

Characterization:- Wish the characters of the rest of the cast were fleshed out as well as that of the main protagonist. It would have added value to the story.


Don’t know if the author thought of it when penning the book, but to me the story was a virtual depiction of the brighter side of human life. It is the tale of resilience. The book portrays man’s ability to discover his inner strength in tough times and rise to the demands of the situation as one. It also proves the adage, ‘United we stand,’ true.


An engrossing read that’s capable of keeping the reader on edge till the very end. I give the book 4 on a scale of 5.




Chronicler of the Undead









A cubicle dweller by day and a writer by night, Mainak Dhar’s first ‘published’ work was a stapled collection of Maths solutions and poems which he sold to his classmates in Grade 7 to earn that little pocket money that would buy him the pleasure of ice creams and comics. This small beginning was followed by greater achievements. He went on to becoming a bestselling author. In March 2013 he struck ‘gold’ (Read ‘fame’) when he momentarily surpassed Stephen King and become #1 Horror author on Amazon.

Mainak Dhar has seventeen books to his credit, including bestselling Alice in Deadland series. The same is being made into a television series in the United States.

To contact Dhar,  CLICK HERE



This is not a paid review. I was provided a copy of the book by Writersmelon in exchange for an honest review.


I’d like to have your views on the book and the review. Do leave them here in the comment box below.

You are the Best Wife by Ajay K Pandey- A Review


TITLE: You are the Best Wife
AUTHOR: Ajay K Pandey
PUBLISHER: Srishti Publishers
GENRE: Memoir(True Love Story)



Touching and at the same time eye-catching and revealing. It makes one want to pick up the book and explore the story within the covers.


This is a true inspiring story of the author and his struggle with life. He struggled in almost every part of his life, but when his life seemed to be falling in place, his beloved wife left him halfway and her last word, ‘You are the best husband.’ gave him the strength to live with. He decided to pull off all her unaccomplished duties and made it a target to thrive for the rest of his life.

Told with frankness and doses of humor this heart-warming tale of a boy and a girl who never gave up on their love in face of the many blows that life deals them ends on a bittersweet and poignant note as Ajay comes to terms with the biggest lesson life has to offer.

‘You are best wife.’ is Author’s story—a story of how he lost his wife, his nerve-wracking and unimaginably terrifying journey through denial, resentment, and depression to, finally, acceptance and forgiveness.

The story is based on Ajay K Pandey and Bhavna’s life-journey and their love story.


Straight from the heart hence, touching and relatable, the book starts on a humorous note where we see the author reminisce his college days, the ragging mania that gripped his seniors at IERT, the nightmarish nights he and his friends endured till the freshers’ day, his attempt at wooing his classmate who ultimately became his life partner, etc. Later we get a taste of Indian society, its caste equations, egos, etc., but what stands out is the fact that ultimately love prevails and all other things fade away. Though the first half is hilarious at places and introduces us to the lighter moments in the author’s life, the second half makes us realize the vagaries of life. But then as they say, “All good things must come to an end”, so too does this story.

While the first half will bring a smile to the eyes, the second half which is raw with emotions starting from hope to frustration to utter helplessness and loss will moisten them. The agony of seeing one’s beloved suffer, and not be able to do anything to ease the pain is brought out well so too is the author’s reaction to the loss.

What I liked best was the ending. The author finally draws strength from his loss and decides to move on instead of becoming a ‘Devdas.’ He finds his calling in the underprivileged children and decides to contribute his might to their education and well-being. This is the best tribute he can give to his beloved, his wife.

Language is simple and easy to understand, very much like the plot which is simple and straight.


A simple and easy read, one that’s sure to moisten your eyes, I’ll give this 4 on a scale of 5.




BUYING LINKS  BOOKadda   //  flipkart

All proceeds from the book will be donated through Bhavna Charitable Trust ( an initiative of Bhavna’s parents). To know more about the trust click here



An Engineering graduate in Electronics from IERT (Allahabad) and MBA holder from IIMM (Pune), Ajay K Pandey is currently working with Cognizant Pune. He finds joy and draws inspiration from TTR i.e. travelling, trekking and reading. ‘You are the Best Life’ is his debut novel. In fact it is his story.


You can befriend him on fb



I ‘d like to thank the Author and Author Paradise for providing me a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.


I’d like to have your views on the book and the review. Do leave them here in the comment box below.






In the words of the author: Maybe ‘a murder mystery with historical flavour’ …….. Maybe just ‘murder mystery’ is better still.

But why ‘The Crows of Agra?’ That too is part of the mystery.



The year is 1562 A.D.

Just into his twentieth year, Akbar readies himself to emerge from behind the veil and stake his claim to the Mughal throne.

But the figure of his regent, Bairam Khan, looms large in his path. After an exchange of blows and wits, Bairam Khan is subdued. Akbar forgives him, and forces upon him a pilgrimage to Mecca. On the eve of his departure, Bairam Khan is found murdered in his chamber.

With the help of Mahesh Das — a Brahmin who Akbar has befriended — Akbar must find out who killed Bairam Khan. But in the insidious Mughal court — a hotbed of intrigue and suspicion — danger lurks at every step. One false step could cost them their lives.


PLOT: Wonderful and gripping the story revolves around the murder of Bairam Khan father figure to Akbar and the Regent of Agra on the eve of his departure to the Holy city of Mecca. Mahesh Das, a new entrant in Akbar’s life is entrusted the task of finding the murderer. Now starts the story full of twists and turns, intrigue and back stabbing. Each of the suspects is open about their animosity towards the Regent; each of them would wish him dead. Then who did it? To know that one has to read till the end. I loved the climax.

In short, this one is a typical whodunit story.

However if one is to see the story in its historical perspective, one is sure to find certain anomalies like the ladies of the royal family entertaining men other than family members in their private chambers and that too unveiled. But then the author has taken bail in the beginning itself by making it known that he has taken certain liberties with the characterization and known facts of how the Mughals lived to fulfill the demands of the tale. He requests that the reader focus more on the story than on the historicity.

CHARACTERIZATION: The characters are well etched with all their imperfections. The only thing I missed in particular was Mahesh Das’s typical sense of humour one that is he is acclaimed for in history. That would have added spice to the story.

LANGUAGE: Simple and easy to understand. However there are a few typos and grammatical errors that need to be taken care of before the book goes into reprint.

PACE: Perfect.


An enjoyable and light read, I give the book a 4 on a scale of 5.



A few sentences about the author

5804537 - Copy

Sharath Komarraju is an author of fiction and nonfiction. An Ex- software engineer Sharath is now into writing writes full-time. To know more about Sharath’s books click HERE

To catch up him on his blog click HERE






This is not a paid review. I was provided a copy of the book almost free by the Author in exchange for an honest review.


I’d like to have your views on the book and the review. Do leave them here in the comment box below.

Book Blitz: Beyond the Milky Way




Beyond The Milky Way 

Are We Alone? 




Are we alone?

Three astronauts go to the space in search of a planet that ‘probably’ has water—one of the basic elements for the humanity to survive. Do they find it? What else do they find? They encounter something—something strange—beyond their wildest of imagination, and their ‘mission-to-explore’ becomes ‘mission-to-survive’.


They experience something that makes them question their beliefs. It brings into focus all the things they had taken for granted—everything they had seen and learned—doesn’t seem to apply any longer.


Something happens along the way that makes them yearn to come back to Earth. After all, home is where the heart is.


This is not just-another-science-fiction. Rather, it will make you question your own beliefs—may they be scientific, religious, political, or something else.


In the first installment of the Galaxy series, find out about the strange world they discover.


Buy @



Come, the aqua race

as the wells go dry.

Blurs the human trace,

and the hour is nigh.


“T -20 minutes and counting.”
It was a typical Florida day at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, hot and muggy.

Although it was only 10 o’clock in the morning, people were already sweating. Many folks held umbrellas to cover themselves from the scorching sun. Others were wearing various kinds of hats and caps, and their shirts and tees were wet with sweat. Their armpits—and wherever else their garments touched the skin—were showing dark patches of sweat. Almost everyone was wearing shorts. They didn’t care whether it suited them or not; they just wanted to be comfortable. The combination of sunscreen and sweat made their skins glisten, and sunglasses covered their eyes.

A big crowd had gathered to watch the launch live. All sorts of vehicles were haphazardly parked on the flat meadow. Many had climbed on the rooftops of their RVs to get a better view. Some of them with flatbed trucks had brought lawn chairs with attached umbrellas. Families sitting in the chairs were enjoying chilled beverages. Kids were sitting with cans of soda. Every once in a while, some of them would roll their cold cans over their faces to get some temporary relief from the sweltering heat.

Clusters of families had spread their picnic blankets across the green grass and were using coolers as anchors. Spreads of snacks were sprawled across a few of them: cookies, chips, fruits, candies, and assortments of soda. Uniformed cops in shorts were riding on cycles among them, making sure that no one had any alcohol. Some adults had their cans of soda in a soda-cozy to keep the beverage cold. The policemen would stop their bikes near the adults, and ask them to take out the cans from the soda-cozy to ensure that they were not beer cans. Little children were playing not far from them, under the watchful eyes of their parents. Some moms were applying sunscreen on their children before letting them play, and some were rubbing it on their husbands’ backs.

Some people were sprawled across the grass, tanning in the sun. Others had brought their dogs with them, and their kids were taking the dogs for a walk on leashes. The dogs were wagging their tails with excitement. They would keep their noses close to the ground, sniffing and panting, stopping every now and then, before being pulled forward by their owners.

Dozens of TV vans, belonging to various networks, had their satellite dishes extended high atop their roofs, broadcasting live to the world. News reporters, with microphones in their hands, were standing in front of TV cameras with the shuttle framed in the background. They were the most uncomfortable, as they had to wear a jacket in the scorching Florida sun to look professional. The bright camera lights thrown on their faces were not helping either. The moment they would stop talking to the camera, the camera lights would be turned off; they would then sigh in relief, take off their jackets, and start touching up their faces.

At the edge of the ground, a tall flagpole bearing a huge United States flag fluttered lazily when the wind blew. Next to it was an enormous digital clock, counting down.

It was a very festive atmosphere, and the air was filled with excitement and anticipation. Every now and then, some folks would glance at the shuttle standing in the distant horizon, with smoke blowing slowly from its base before evaporating.

The NASA Test Director had already conducted the final launch team briefings and completed the inertial measurement unit preflight alignments.

“T -9 minutes and holding.”

“This is the final built-in hold folks,” an announcer on TV said, sounding as if he knew what was going on, but in actuality, he was merely reading from a script given to him by NASA. “This is what it means—there are several things happening. The final launch window is determined, the flight recorders are activated, and the final ‘go/no-go’ launch polls are conducted by NASA Test Director, Mission Management Team, and the launch director.”

He was explaining it quite well on TV. Audiences across the world were watching this launch intently. It was a highly publicized launch. After the first manned mission to the moon, Apollo 11, this was the most viewed mission.

“This is the last launch to take place before NASA changes its direction. The Last One, as it is dubbed. We know that there is water on this unknown planet, and where there is water, there is life. Without water, no life has ever sustained. We all know how dangerously low we are on our water resources. Sure, we have plenty of seawater. But it has salt, and is not meant for human consumption. A few companies have tried to develop technology to convert it into fresh water by spending billions of dollars on desalination plants. However, it’s way too expensive and not practical. The resources are dwindling, and famine is widespread. This is it folks, it’s now or never. Colonizing this unknown planet is our only option,” he said, trying to sound dramatic. “And by water, I mean liquid water. Water can be in other states too: frozen solid or evaporated into a gas. Take Enceladus, the sixth-largest moon of Saturn. We have discovered a water-rich plume venting out from its south polar region. It shoots geyser-like jets of water vapor that are about one hundred miles long. Think of it as a volcano, but instead of lava, it’s pouring out steam, a cryovolcanic eruption. So, even though we know it has water, life is not possible for us humans—primitive microbial life may be possible—but not for us. Saturn has 26 million times the water on Earth; yes, you heard it right folks, 26 million. Liquid water is just one of the components required for us to live. There are two more components that a planet needs to have: the right atmosphere and temperature. The planet cannot be too hot or too cold, only just right. Our neighbor, Venus, is around thirty percent closer to the sun and eight hundred degrees hotter. Then there is the atmosphere; it should have the right amount of oxygen to breathe. Of course, making a huge air-conditioned capsule can control these two to a certain degree. But not water. We need natural, liquid water that a planet can produce.

Mars is the first planet we have thought of to colonize. And it is natural to look at it first as it is closest to us, only 48 million miles away, a rock’s throw away compared to the astronomical distances from other planets. But as we get to know more about it, we realize how harsh life can be. Here are a few things that encourage us to find out if living on Mars is possible. It has much lower gravity, so you will weigh much less. There is evidence of flowing, liquid water, but it’s all gone now. It has turned from a warmer, wetter planet into a cold, dry one. There have been talks about terraforming, a process to make the planet habitable like Earth. But then you are talking about confining yourself in a large capsule. You can forget about going on treks, scaling the heights of mountains, scuba diving, taking nature walks, and many other things that we take for granted on our Earth. Basically, you won’t be able to open the door and go outside casually.

Why am I telling you all this? You can get this from the Internet. There is a reason. Bear with me for a moment. We know our galaxy is about 13.2 billion years old. And our solar system is about 4.5 billion years old. So Earth is around 4.5 billion years old. The sun’s age is estimated to be around 12 billion years. So we are almost half way there. All these are enormous numbers, you’ll say, and I agree. But let’s juxtapose these numbers with our existence. Our ancestors have only existed for 6 million years. And we, the modern form of humans, have been around for only 200,000 years. And civilization, as we know it, is only 6,000 years old. See where I am going with it? Although the life of our solar system is enormous, we have been around for only a fraction of that time. And the resources are already dwindling. Look around you.

He paused for a moment to let this sink in.

We have to find a way to prolong our existence.

I have to repeat the famous words of Neil Armstrong, ‘one small leap for man, one giant leap for mankind,’ because they still hold true. We have come a long way in our understanding of the vast universe, but our basic needs remain the same. We have advanced technologically, but have we evolved? Have we adapted? Are we using fewer resources? Studies after studies tell us that we are not. An average person needs, no, uses more resources. Where do they come from? In this digital age, we all consume more. Use more batteries for our devices, why? Because we have many more devices now than we had ten years ago. Laptops, phones, games, toys, you name it. We eat more and drink more. In this fast moving world of ours, where information is at our fingertips, we have seen the globe shrinking. In addition to getting news of our neighboring villages and cities, we are getting news from our neighboring countries. We are getting more aware of our world, and it doesn’t look good. We can either ignore all the information we have, or we can do something about it.

Our population is growing, and our resources are shrinking. It’s not political any more. It’s our survival,” he paused, his voice lowered, almost becoming a hush. “There won’t be any politicians if no one survives.”

He stayed silent for a while, knowing that silence on TV was a no-no. But his journalistic instincts told him that it was the right thing to do. He was passionate about this cause, and he had the ear of the world. However, he had to strike the right balance between captivating his audience and depressing them. He didn’t want to be a doomsayer. But at the same time, he wanted to convey the urgency.

“This planet, simply called P2, was recently discovered by NASA. Technically, this so called—The Last One—is a misnomer as there can be more flights by NASA. If we find that life is sustainable on this planet, we will have more flights to P2,” he boomed, changing his voice to a deeper baritone.

“How far is P2? Farther than the farthest planet in our solar system. In addition to the regular, orange-colored rocket boosters, the space shuttle is also fitted with two giant SEP arms. SEP stands for Solar Electric Propulsion. They will unfurl once the shuttle has reached outer space, after which the shuttle will generate its own energy, drawing it from the sun.

You have seen these kinds of shuttles used for traveling to the International Space Station, or for adding a solar panel to a satellite. But this one has been modified to carry more scientific instruments. Once on P2, they will be used extensively to analyze soil samples, rock samples, and other materials that have been collected.

After this, NASA is going to divert its resources to explore other things. Congress has decided to cut the budget for such programs. They feel that the funds should be used in more fruitful missions. Is it a wise move? You decide.”

The ground was separated by water, and beyond that, the Space Shuttle. Lots of people were peering through their binoculars to feel closer to the launch than they actually were.

“T -9 minutes and counting,” the voice boomed on the PA.

The automatic ground launch sequencer was started.

“We have less than ten minutes to witness a historical moment. Gather everyone around the TV to see this for the last time. It’s been over forty-five years since we landed the first man on the moon. We have learned many things about our space since then,” said the announcer, and then his tone changed. “Let’s all take a moment to consider how tiny we are in the scheme of things. The space is a vast unknown. We want to know as much as we can. The space program is about to change directions in how we gather this information. Whether you agree or not with our government, one thing is for sure—we are the most advanced and powerful nation in the space program. Many of you question the wisdom in dismantling something so hugely successful. So let’s not forget the perks of such programs. NASA has benefited mankind so much. Innumerable inventions exist that have come out of NASA. I can go on and on praising NASA, but let’s get back to what’s happening now.”

On the ground where people were waiting patiently for the launch, a few ice cream trucks were selling candies, ice creams, bottled water, sodas, and much more. Little children had gathered around the trucks.

“Do you have beer?” asked one man, hoping that the vendor did.

“No sir,” replied the vendor, shaking his head vigorously. “We are not allowed to sell beer, and you are not allowed to drink it in a public place. If the cops see you drinking one, they’ll ticket you.”

“I know that,” the man glared at him.

“Oh,” the vendor replied sheepishly. “Sorry.”

“Give me an ice cream,” the man said, shaking his head in disappointment.

“What flavor?”

“Chocolate,” he replied, and then he added, “in a cone.”

The man handed him a ten-dollar bill, and the vendor returned the change.

“T -7 minutes and 30 seconds,” the voice on the PA continued.

The access arm of the orbiter was slowly retracted. It looked



About the Author



The author was born and raised in Mumbai, India. He came to the US in 1989 to New York. He currently resides in Los Angeles with his wife and two children.





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